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rider profile
elna
 

words by Elna Dahlstrand & photography by Eskil Laago

Velonode Rider Profiles is a series of editorial interviews with riders where we welcome you to look into the personality of the people behind the bars. We’re including the Velonode Rider Profile Series in our Issue to give you a continuous story to enjoy every time we release a new edition of the Issue. If you’re interested in contributing to our rider profiles, please contact us at hello@velonode.cc

Who are you?
I am an outdoorsy and creative person with a never ending crush on cycling. I work with graphic design, illustrations and communication – and I also love to write. I grew up in the countryside and I constantly long to get outside – I sort of tear apart from the inside if I get stuck in cities for too long and I get very restless if I don’t get to go out riding my bikes, running or hiking.

How did you interest for cycling begin, when did you start cycling and why did you chose to continue?
I was eighteen when I for some reason tried to ride an ordinary bike on a trail in the forest. It just happened to be the fastest way home, I had never heard of mountain bike, but since I spent a lot of time orienteering when I grew up I didn’t mind getting off road. I had, however, got tired of exercising and more interested in other things teenagers more often tend to be interested in. I told my mother I biked home on a forest path and that it was fun – and since she was into road cycling already she knew where to take her confused teenage daughter; the bike shop. I bought a mountain bike and I thought it was so much fun. I rode that bike for a couple of years in the late nineties and then life happened.

Ten years later I realized I had to do something in order to take care of myself instead of messing up and party on like there was no tomorrow. I had missed mountain biking ever since I quit so I didn’t have to think for long before I decided to get myself a new MTB. I fell head over heels in love with cross country cycling – and since then, spending time on my bike has become a lifestyle.

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Do you have any good tips on challenges for someone who’s just about to start cycling?
Being a rookie cyclist can sometimes feel a bit confusing. There are so many things everyone else knows about that you’ve never heard of. Different types of tires, gears, clothing, ways to communicate on a road bike or techniques to learn in order to ride well on trails. However – don’t focus on that you don’t yet know everything, you will learn – I promise, focus on how absolutely fabulous it is to get a little bit better every time you ride. You get stronger, faster, you learn to handle your bike and you get to know people – no matter what challenges you decide to take on with your bike – be nice to yourself, and never forget to have fun! Sign up for a race as well – it is brilliant to have a goal!

What’s the most overrated unwritten rule / myth in cycling do you think?
Rules are meant to be broken, aren’t they? I do think most of them are overrated. Wear what you like to wear – never mind the height of your socks or if you kit matches – in the end, it’s all about having strong legs and plenty of fun. On the other hand – if you think matching your gear is fun (i do) go for it. I break some rules constantly and I follow others by the book.

What does your favorite ride look like? How does it feel to ride your special route?
I think my favorite ride is not about location but company. Every ride can be a perfect ride if you bring friends you like or take on a challenge you enjoy. I’m especially fond of not knowing exactly which route to take – just taking off in the woods and choosing whichever path looks most fun and see where it leads to. I do prefer MTB though – theres something so fabulous with riding fast on tricky paths and taking a break on a beautiful spot to admire the scenery that I don’t ever think I’ll be able to really put words on it.

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What do you think cycling will be in five years?
It’s been about five years since I took up cycling and during those years so much has happened. Road cycling as well as mountain biking is a steady trend upwards, and I’m quite sure it has not reached its peak yet. I think in five years there will be even more people biking. And even more women, I am very happy to see more women riding bikes now than when I started riding. I truly hope traffic planners get their minds together and make better bike lanes and I hope that people driving cars will show more respect towards people riding bikes. I think we will see more fun local races and I think that the combination tourist industry and cycling will grow even more. Cycling is definitely here to stay!

Do you have any interesting projects or fun things in the planning?
I’m not very fond of planning, things never end up the way you want them to anyway. However – I might be racing in the Swedish MTB Championships in July, and I might participate in a few XC marathon races in Sweden as well. I want to learn how to ride and jump on a dirt bike. We have bought an old dirt bike which needs some tender loving care before I can go out trying it, hopefully it won’t be too long until then. I do dream of participating in Trans Alp or a similar race, I have said “maybe next year” several years in a row. I look forward to take part in several XC MTB races during the season and hopefully I’ll be able to try cyclocross when autumn arrives.

You have a very popular blog, what’s your ambition to blog?
I love writing. I love cycling. I combined those two and ended up with a blog. It’s not what I do for a living, that would be a dream scenario though – just cycling and writing. I know my blog inspires people – I mix texts slightly out of comfort zone when I share some of my experiences as well as ordinary race reports and daily thoughts and among my readers are professional riders as well as beginners. I want to inspire and be inspired and share my love for cycling.

For who do you write, and why?
Everyone and no one. If there is a keyboard, I just have to write – my mind is always working on new ideas on blog posts. I write in order to share experience, in order to inspire in different ways and in order to inspire myself. I appreciate the fact that I get a lot back from my readers as well; tips, inspiration, friends and opportunities and it’s a boost to my self esteem when I can boost others.

If you could change three things about cycling, what would they be?
Ehm. Wow, good question, think i’ll have to come back to that one – until then I suggest we try to change the world with a little love and plenty of cycling!

See more photos by Eskil Laago at eskillaago.wordpress.com

worth sharing?

Name: Elna Dahlstrand

Lives in: Huskvarna, Sweden

Age: 33

Bikes: 27,5 inch wheels and hard tail carbon MTB, german aluminium racer and a 70’s ladies bike with basket and foot break.

www: formcykel.se

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